USD School of Law Fellmeth-Peterson Professor in Residence in Child Rights, Jessica Heldman ’04 (JD) Quoted by NBC7 News

Fellmeth-Peterson Professor in Residence in Child Rights, Jessica Heldman ’04 (JD) Quoted by NBC7 News

Jessica Heldman

SAN DIEGO (December 5, 2018) – University of San Diego School of Law Fellmeth-Peterson Professor in Residence in Child Rights, Jessica Heldman, ’04 (JD), was quoted by NBC7 News in a story reporting on a South Bay school principal rescheduling a campuswide drill to provide cover for police who needed to arrest students at school.

According to the article, when asked to help San Diego police arrest four teenagers, Principal Tom Gray at Montgomery High School rescheduled a campuswide safety drill to provide cover for the arresting officers. The article says the teenage suspects had not committed any crimes on or near campus nor had parents and students been told anything about the arrests.

Heldman stated that if the suspects "posed an immediate threat at the school, subterfuge might be appropriate.  However, in this case the police and principal waited two days to stage the safety drill, after agreeing on a strategy.”

Heldman told NBC7 that the principal’s willingness to “act as a law enforcement entity by collaborating and colluding (with police to stage the safety drill) as a pretext, concerns me.”

Heldman is also concerned the principal’s willingness to schedule the lockdown as requested by police could hurt the school’s credibility with students, who might assume there’s not a real threat if the school goes on an actual lockdown. “And so the students might not comply with the safety measures that are in place (for an actual threat) and that could create a really dangerous situation,” Heldman said.

Click here to read the full article written by Paul Krueger

About the Children’s Advocacy Institute

The Children's Advocacy Institute (CAI), founded at the nonprofit University of San Diego School of Law in 1989, is one of the nation's premiere academic, research, and advocacy organizations working to improve the lives of children and youth, with special emphasis on improving the child protection and foster care systems and enhancing resources that are available to youth aging out of foster care.

In its academic component, CAI trains law students and attorneys to be effective child advocates throughout their legal careers. Its Child Advocacy Clinic gives USD Law students three distinct clinical opportunities to advocate on behalf of children and youth, and its Dependency Counsel Training Program provides comprehensive training to licensed attorneys engaged in or contemplating Dependency Court practice.

CAI's research and advocacy component, conducted through its offices in San Diego, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C., seeks to leverage change for children and youth through impact litigation, regulatory and legislative advocacy, and public education. Active primarily at the federal and state levels, CAI's efforts are multi-faceted—comprehensively and successfully embracing all tools of public interest advocacy to improve the lives of children and youth. To support CAI’s work, please visit

About the University of San Diego School of Law

The University of San Diego (USD) School of Law is recognized for the excellence of its faculty, depth of its curriculum, and strength of its clinical programs. Each year, USD educates approximately 800 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 35th nationally and 6th on the West Coast among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 24th nationally and 6th on the West Coast in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


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